Hanan Besovic

The Business of Ego: Hanan Besovic's Take on Fashion

Show Notes


Hanan Besovic, the content creator and fashion commentator behind @ideservecouture, shares his unconventional journey and outsider perspective into the fashion world. Moving from Croatia to the US, Besovic garnered a significant following on his platform during the COVID lockdown, using it to channel and convey his perspective on fashion—which he comes by through sheer obsessive passion. His honest and timely critiques often challenge traditional norms in the industry.

Besovic details the evolving role of influencers, advocating for discernment in evaluating their contributions to fashion discourse. Expressing admiration for Gen Z’s assertiveness and knowledge, he navigates the industry with a focus on community-building and networking, while maintaining an authenticity that he sees as all too often lacking on social media. His overwhelming fashion insight gives him a unique perspective laced with nuance, allowing him to see what’s contemporary now as both the influence and image of businesswoman Kim Kardashian, as well as pervasive mediocrity that comes from the industry’s exclusivity and commercialism.

Episode Highlights
  • Serendipitous start: Introduced to fashion in 2010 after seeing a McQueen show, Besovic transitioned from hospitality to fashion after a move from Croatia to the US and following a layoff from hotel work during the pandemic.
  • Following a passion: Though he treated fashion as a hobby, joking that he failed algebra because of his obsession with Giovanna Battaglia Engelbert, he found a role in the scene during the COVID lockdown.
  • Superfan: Citing Plato’s Atlantis and the Horn of Plenty, Leigh Bowery lips, and Dior silhouettes, Besovic recounts how McQueen’s show was “a perfect introduction to fashion because I got a history of fashion in 13 minutes.”
  • Ending up on a panel for Show Studio, through which he had first been introduced to the fashion world, was a full-circle moment for Besovic.
  • @ideservecouture: Having been called a content creator, a fashion critic, and an influencer, Besovic sees himself as a commentator, remarking on how the fashion world has changed to include more critiques like those pushing for body diversity.
  • On influencer culture: Besovic sees the importance of having a discerning view on social media, where unresearched or misinformed influencer opinions on fashion proliferate alongside those of influencers who have dug deeper into the contemporary moment and its historical roots.
  • Gen Z: Likening the feeling of maintaining an outsider perspective among the insiders to those that look down on Gen Z, Besovic notes that he admires the younger generation’s activeness and knowledge of their value.
  • Organic growth: Quoting a drag queen, Besovic says that “goals are preplanned disappointments” and prefers relying on organic personal—and social media—growth.
  • Navigating the industry: Besovic’s advice to young designers is to work more toward networking and building community, as he does on his platform.
  • “Nice, genuine, and down to earth”: Besovic’s contemporaries don’t have the same egos as most in the industry, and Besovic himself is happy to forgo sources of status, like physically attending the shows.
  • “I like to know the reality of the things.”: When asked whether the world needs the 24/7 dream or fantasy of fashion on social media, Besovic insists that the world needs to know instead that everything’s not as perfect as it looks.
  • When clothes speak for themselves: Besovic says storytelling is crucial to a collection, except when garments are too good to need a narrative.
  • Dream job: Besovic thinks he would be a good consultant for brands like Givenchy, which don’t understand their worth or history.
  • Polarities: For Besovic, the Kardashians are what’s contemporary now (still), because “no one can dispute how smart of a businesswoman she [Kim] is.” On the other hand, additionally, what is contemporary now is “mediocrity, it’s commercialism, it’s lack of creativity.”

Notable Quotes:

  • McQueen opened the doors for me. And then I realized that there was like such a world of beauty and elegance, but by the same token, grotesque and avant-garde and kind of minimalism, and all of these are fashion, ways that fashion operates.” —Hanan Besovic
  • On the negative side of the fashion world: “It is not peaches and cream.” —Hanan Besovic
  • “I just think that fashion critics and this kind of older generation of fashion are thinking that all of these influencers that express their opinion that we’re coming after them. And I’m like, we’re not. I want to hear what Vanessa Friedman says. I want to hear that. I want to hear what Susie says [too].” —Hanan Besovic
  • We can talk about how amazing Dior is. We can talk about how beautiful Givenchy is. But we can talk about stuff like that, but someone has to start a conversation.” —Hanan Besovic
  • “I think that like people in audiences that follow them [influencers] just have to realize— ‘what is this person giving me in return? Is it giving me fashion history? Is it giving me their opinion, or is it giving me product?’” —Hanan Besovic
  • “The audience has to dissect who they’re following and why they’re following them and what that person brings to the table.” —Hanan Besovic
  • “I always say fashion is a business of ego. I was in a group of people, and they introduced everyone except me, and I’m like, ‘OK, cool, that’s fine.’” —Hanan Besovic
  • “All of this new wave of influencers and commentators is looked down at, especially when it comes to Gen Z. And I’m like, I love Gen Z. I think those kids are beyond cool. And I think that as much as they can learn from new generations, we have so much to learn from them because I’ve never seen a generation that is so active.” —Hanan Besovic
  • “These kids know their value. They’re like, I’m not going to work for that amount of money because I’m better than that. And that is not what my generation was like. I grew up in Croatia. Like my mom was very much, ‘No, you work. That’s it, for any kind of money you work.’ And these kids are like, ‘No, you’re not going to underpay me.’ That is so smart. I wish that I was like that from the get-go.” —Hanan Besovic
  • “I’m more about creating the community. I know that inclusion in the fashion industry is a myth. I hate to say it, but it is true.” —Hanan Besovic
  • “Be you and connect and network because this industry is about networking more than talent.” —Hanan Besovic
  • “There’s one thing that all of us can agree on, and it’s this like passion for fashion thing.” —Hanan Besovic
  • “I want my platform to be inclusive. It brings me joy.” —Hanan Besovic
  • “My contemporaries are in the second row, and we’re fine with that. I’m not going to throw a fit because we’re not in the first row. Would the pictures be better? My god, they would, but you know what, it’s fine.” —Hanan Besovic
  • “Instagram, as much as I love the platform, is the platform of fake reality. I think that you realize that the people are maybe are not having a great time and there is a story behind every smile, and there’s a story behind every picture, and that story might not be the best one.” —Hanan Besovic
  • “Not every day is perfect. And I think that’s what’s missing from fashion. There’s this illusion of perfection that is constantly being portrayed and constantly being pushed. It’s constantly being in your face, but there is no reality to it.” —Hanan Besovic
  • “I think that everybody seems to be running away from the reality. I love a dream—trust me. There is no one that loves fashion dreaming more, but I’m like, let’s dream of great clothes also. Let’s not dream of mediocrity and place it to be the next best thing.” —Hanan Besovic
  • “The reason why I’m doing this is because it makes me happy, and I don’t feel like I’m working.” —Hanan Besovic
  • On what’s contemporary now: “I hate to say it, Kardashian still. Kardashians are still contemporary, which is so crazy because, you know what? Don’t hate the player, hate the game.” —Hanan Besovic
  • “What is contemporary now? It’s mediocrity, it’s commercialism, it’s lack of creativity. It’s a lack of ideas, and it’s a lack of storytelling. It’s the lack of theatrics—the lack of so many things in the fashion industry; that the fashion industry has such a potential to be great and amazing, but it puts money before everything. It’s unfortunate, but you still have great artists out there. You still have great designers.” —Hanan Besovic
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